A graduating ceremony for Class 15-152 with the six-month long Brig. Gen. Anna Mae Hays Clinical Nurses Transition Program (CNTP) was held at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Dec. 8.

The CNTP allows new nurses to gain experience as a surgical-medical nurse while working alongside experienced nurses to mentor the new nurses in hands-on procedures.

"The CNTP is a program for new nurses who have already graduated from a nursing program to get a good foundation before working on their own," said 2nd Lt. Lizamara C. Bedolla, a graduate of CNTP and native of Houston. "It's like a residency program for doctors."

Throughout the program nurses were educated on advanced topics in nursing such as pain management, ethical decisions, physiology-type techniques and critical-thinking skills.

"It advances their professional development and helps them understand 'I need to keep educating myself if I want to stay current in practice'," said Dr. Thomas H. Miller, CNTP director. "They're all brand new 2nd lieutenants that have finished nursing school."

According to Miller, CNTP provides opportunities for the new nurses to gain hands-on experience and repetitive practice to understand what to do once they graduate from the program.

Other projects in the program include an evidence-based practice project which helps nurses examine research and analyze if new practices should be implemented at WBAMC.

"We just don't do things the old-fashioned way, we need to keep looking at the future because there is always new ideas," added Miller.

The nurses received the opportunity to work as head nurses with preceptors (experienced nurses) engaging in everything nurses' practice, said 2nd Lt. Jessica S. Webster, a CNTP graduate. According to Webster, the program educated students on matters unfamiliar to the students and guided them to have the capability of working independent.

Although the new nurses will continue to be mentored throughout their careers, the goal of the program is to add experience to the knowledge the nurses already possess from school so they may work with confidence and independence once they get started.

"When you walk into a room you immediately know what to go to and what the patient needs first because you get so well skilled because you've seen more exposure, more patients, more processes," said Miller, a native of Connellsville, Pa.

"I think it's a really good program," said Bedolla. "[CNTP] allows you that time you need to get a foundation to build on the skills you learned at nursing school and to work alongside somebody to give you that confidence to work on your own in the future."